So I’ve finally finished up night in the woods, which takes a little longer for me with a let’s plays. I kinda don’t like recording stuff all at once which means regular recording and finding that time each day can be hard.
Anyway, my final thoughts are that the game is…. Ok. Yep, just ok. It is not the second coming of walking simulators or updated, and better version of the emotional emotional older coaster ride of interpersonal relationships that life is strange was able to provide. It neither had the depth of story I expected, the pacing of story moments to keep you enthralled, or the emotional hook that makes for a satisfying unveil and conclusion.
Now that’s not to say that night in the woods is a bad game, I actually rather enjoyed many of its story elements, and the characters are the insane kind interesting you can’t help but watch with devotion like a good day time soapie. It’s just that overall the game doesn’t seem as well put together as the many others I’ve played.
The part that let’s it down the most is definitely the pacing and in many ways it feels like they weren’t really sure what they wanted to do – or even be. It could have quite easily just been some kind of after school special about finding one self after school and dealing with mental health but then it starts introducing certain supernatural elements that overwhelm the character development and story implementation.all crammed into what feel like the last quarter of the experience.
I knew there was this element before playing and was kind of waiting for it to begin, but the game just felt content with its exploration or the characters and each of their own existential crisis of both faith, relationship and personal issues. It was an indulgent exercise in storytelling that goes on way too long, but is not entirely unwelcome due to how these elements are often explored.
The supernatural elements of both the towns construction and ongoing dilemma is rather intriguing to but because of the slow pacing with character development t it us left as a rushed exposition. One that fails to really build up a sense of tension and mystery and instead dumps an unfinished story arc straight in you lap. Barely cognate and mostly speaking gibberish. Maybe they were trying to leave much of the mystery unsaid and for you to piece together the information and your own thoughts, or maybe they just ran out of time.
Then there are elements like the various small mini games that while at times fit into the narrative, yet at others feel more like a haphazard reaction to thoughts around making it a “real” game. Like they needed these shitty little mini-games that waste time in order to make the game more engaging when in reality – they are the least engaging and interesting part.
Desire these complaints it’s still a game that keeled me interested from start to end and eager to learn more about the various characters and and their issues and delightful eccentricities. From Mae’s over-active exuberance and anxiety, Gregg’s overbearing antics, to Bea’s solemn acceptance – each add up to a rather diverse cross section of the feelings and emotional turbulence of young adulthood and beyond. That search for self, battle with personal demons and the interpersonal issued that so often occur. It allows moments of self reflection, and a deeper personal connection because of that.
It’s a rather lovely little town to explore too and in the course if each day I would go out if my way to explore each aspect I could. Delving it’ll to the alleys and climbing the power lines just so as as experience as much as I could. Even then I seemed to have missed many aspects cats of the story as the are various events that diverge based on your choice, and moments to choose from in he course of the day. I’ve begun watching another let’s play recently and it’s surprising just how much I missed out on. There’s probably enough there to enjoy a second playthrough.
Overall it is a rather charming experience. The artstyle itself is enough to heap praise on the title for with it’s bright cheerful aesthetic, but well thought out scenes and colour combinations that – in and of themselves are able to define the mood of the moment so well. The lighting creates a really unnerving atmosphere at times and the silhouettes of the characters are both recognisable, but allow both them and important aspects to pop forward on the screen. It’s a brilliant approach.
The story is, mostly serviceable if a little poorly pieced together but worth experience just because of how well the narrative supports the characters early development, and how much it enables you to relate to the various characters and their issues. Unfortunately The Scooby Doo Esque mystery that is unveiled fails to deliver and produce a satisfying ending to this – otherwise enjoyable story experience.
And a completed let’s play again with my usual bad voice acting